HONG KONG, Dec 2 - More than 150 parliamentariansfrom 18 countries have called on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam tointervene to ensure justice for 12 people, the youngest of whois 16, who have been detained in mainland China while trying toflee the city by boat. The 12, who had all faced charges in Hong Kong linked toanti-government protests, have been held virtually incommunicadoin a mainland prison since they were detained at sea on Aug. 23,apparently while trying to reach the democratic island ofTaiwan. Chinese authorities said last week members of the group facecharges of illegal border crossing and organising an illicitborder crossing, which could carry a sentence of up to sevenyears in jail. "In your role as Chief Executive, it is incumbent on you tointercede on behalf of these young people to ensure that theyare guaranteed justice," the parliamentarians said in the letterreleased late on Tuesday. "To continue to fail to do so would be a gross abdication ofyour responsibility to serve the people of Hong Kong and ensuretheir wellbeing and safety." The 12 should be returned to Hong Kong immediately, beallowed to nominate legal representatives and given access totheir families, they said in the letter. Hong Kong leader Lam has said the 12 will have to facejustice in the mainland and that her government will providethem with "needed and feasible" assistance. Human rights groups and democracy activists have expressedfear over the conditions and treatment of the 12, with familiesand lawyers for them denied access. REUTERS
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